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The Loose Ends List Hardcover – June 7, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Maddie O'Neill Levine and her grandmother, Astrid North O'Neill, are best friends. That is, until her Gram announces to her family that she has terminal cancer and has arranged for one last trip, a secret "death with dignity" cruise on the Wishwell. Maddie had planned to hang with her friends by the lake all summer, but instead her family drops everything for one last trip with their dying Gram. They embark on a voyage of discovery that serves as a catalyst to discuss death, dying, and grief, where the cousins, especially Maddie, are forced to grow up. The trip starts with Maddie's immediate O'Neill family, but by the end "the Wishwellian" ship becomes a family brought together by death. The characters on the ship are relatable, endearing, and lovable. Filled with equal amounts of laugh- and tear-inducing moments, this debut novel will be impossible to put down. Fans of Jenny Downham's Before I Die or Jonathan Tropper's This Is Where I Leave You will enjoy this unique story about dying on one's own terms. Mentions of drinking, drugs, and sex make this title appropriate for older readers. VERDICT With its fresh, original plot and thought-provoking themes, this title will have a high teen appeal.—Morgan O'Reilly, Riverdale Country School, NY
* "Maddie's first-person account is filled with humor and fun, introducing readers to a raunchy, heartwarming, and endearingly dysfunctional family. The story is made all the richer by a cast of quirky supporting characters... Best of all is the achingly romantic love story that unexpectedly blossoms between Maddie and a fellow shipmate and lends the story much-appreciated moments of passion and levity. A poignant and important story about compassion, love, and the decision to live life on your own terms-right up to the very last minute"―Kirkus Reviews
"A bright, promising debut that will resonate."―Booklist,
"A sweet story of a young girl growing and learning about the depths that exist in everyone...Maddie is an accessible and relatable character."
Top customer reviews
Firestone delivers a delightful story that takes turns making you laugh out loud or have tears streaming down your cheeks--not an easy task in a debut young adult novel. Her characters include people you would want to have coffee with, want to start a conga line with and people you will recognize from your own dysfunctional families. There were qualities of Where'd You Go, Bernadette? and This Is Where I Leave You, mixed up in a bag with TFIOS.
Not only is this book the kind of book you don't want to put down, it's also the kind of book you don't want to end because you don't want to leave the characters or the world. Firestone's details are fantastic and help the reader fully engage with the exotic locales and I often found myself lost in the beautiful language and imagery. Did I mention the laughing and the crying? The characters are alternately wildly funny or endearingly lovable. Can’t wait to read more from this new author.
The book is full of colorful characters, magical moment's and relatable situations and dialog.
Read this book. It will remind you to enjoy all life brings, whether extraordinary or mundane, to live in the moment, and to always try to be grateful for all that life brings.
I was immersed in The Loose Ends List from beginning to END!! These characters felt REAL. They felt happy, sad, and overwhelmed by their lot in life. Full of moments that can be characterized in a multitude of ways, the cast of The Loose Ends List is MEMORABLE, REAL, and UNIQUE. Read and embrace every day!